Tax, commons, and a mythological trickle down
To pay tax is to say that we live in a society with common assets.
Roads, parks, education, health care.
In a healthy society where there is a recognition that what affects one affects us all…for example, if we create poverty by design, then we will also have to create higher orders of security against theft and violence… we might naturally support those who are experiencing troubled times.
But we have a mythology running that the poor are lazy. They exploit the system. The rich constantly cry that they do not want their tax dollars to support these indolent people.
Yet those who are more likely to exploit in far greater dollar figures are not the poor, but the rich. With their money they have access to legal codes that enable them to move their money around to avoid tax, enclose their enterprises in tangles of code that protect them from charge against doing harm to the environment or people, and often finagle their way out of paying any tax at all.
It is indeed socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor.
There will always be the lazy. Those who want to take, extract, exploit. Our default training, fuelled with deliberate encouragement by the neoliberal media, (held by the same elite who do not play tax) is to look to the bottom to find these people. I see women in poorer countries working to the bone day in day out to scratch together barely enough. If hard work is the solution to wealth, how do we reconcile this image?
I wonder at governments that spend massive resources chasing the ‘dole bludgers,’ while those who line the government agents pockets with gifts and status get away with a universal cash heist.
To pay tax is to take a stand for a healthy society. How those tax dollars are spent is a different issue, a place where people as citizens need to become more actively engaged if they want to change society towards greater equality.
Photo taken April 24th 2021